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Voice Coaches Radio #542 – Today Class, Lets Take a Field Trip!

 Voice Coaches Radio. Everything voiceover. Welcome to a brand new episode of Voice Coaches Radio. My name is Marissa and we're trying something a little different today. Because, well, I mean, I get a lot of questions about home studios, so, I thought, I'm gonna go ahead, I'll record this latest episode from my own home studio.

And just, you know, allow you to understand exactly how it sounds, cause where I do... to everything that I do these days. It's right from here. Um, and uh, you know, the biggest thing is like, well, what kind of space do I need? What kind of equipment do I need? How much money do I need to spend? So we'll get into that in just a minute, but I hope that the summer has been treating you well.

I've done some, some kind of crazy stuff. You know, I've gone, uh, and my friends had a neon party in the last few weeks. Uh, that got a little crazy. Uh, and what do we mean by neon party? I mean, everybody was in the brightest colors. possible. It was ridiculous. There was confetti. There was silly string. There was vodka.

It was a good time, you know, uh, and then, uh, I've also been to Nashville. So that's been fun. Uh, but, you know, and just doing some movies in the yard. I love my new little setup that I had, uh, that I got, you know, in the last couple months. Um, so I hope that the summer is treating you well and that you are having some fun and making some memories and still being safe.

Cause obviously, I mean, you watch the news and they want to almost act like the pandemic is done, but it's... It's most definitely not. I know people still getting COVID, um, you know, and, uh, and there's that worry of monkey pox, which I don't even know what that means exactly, but, uh, I don't want to know what it means.

So there's that too. Uh, but, uh, but again, let's, let's hop into this home studio action. You know, I feel like, I mean, I wish, I wish I could share you or share with you. What my setup actually looks like, uh, but I don't have access to our social media, so. Oh, but you know use your use your imaginations right now.

So I want you to imagine that you went down into a basement, right? It's not a finished basement. I'm not fancy like that. I don't have that kind of money, uh, but this basement at one point got expanded. So, you know this this nook that I am currently in. It's actually what used to be the one car garage, at least that's what my mentality is telling me based on, you know, the looks of this area.

Because it really is, it's like you've got this, like, wall, but it kind of, you know, goes, goes into this little nook outside of the rest of the, the basement. So, I, I kind of looked at it one day and I was like, you know what? This could be like a perfect little office space or, you know, a studio space. So.

Back when I originally owned the house, that, that is what I did, but I didn't have it configured in the best of ways, and it was still a little bit echoey at times and, and things like that, and, uh, that is just not necessarily the best thing for, for what, you know, we do. So, when I moved back in... See, this is where the pandemic kind of gave me a little bit of an epiphany, a little light bulb moment, if you will, because when I was at my parents house for the few months that I was living like a child all over again, I swear to God, I felt like I was 15.

I was just playing basketball every day, and every once in a while, I was just like playing around recording something. Uh, so yeah, 15 all over again. Uh, but I was in their garage with my setup, and now they... Very known for, for doing flea markets in the summer, setting up and selling things. My dad does eBay.

He has since the, you know, creation of eBay. Uh, so, you know, the garage is like filled with boxes with like collectibles and stuff in it. So, I just kind of created a little nook in their garage when I was doing stuff there. And the first time I went to record, I, I listened back and I was like, Ooh, that sounds so good.

Like, why does it sound so good? And then I'm looking around, I'm like, It's the boxes. It's the cardboard boxes. They're like, you know, grabbing any of the, uh, any of the sound that is happening around me. It's absorbing. So when I got back into my house, I looked at this little nook in my garage, well, that used to be the garage.

And I was like, you know what? I have an idea for a fourth wall. And sure enough, so what I have are three. Rather cement walls. I have some soundproofing up. I put a rug down and Along with that I have a wall of guess what all my old moving boxes you know those little suckers can come in handy when you really want them to so I literally I always call it like I'm in an adult fort and it's not a joke.

I literally am, uh, you know, because I have this wall of boxes. I put a cloth over top of it. So it just, you know, it looks like a wall. I've got some Christmas lights hanging from it. Cause you know, it's pretty. Uh, and then, you know, all around me, I've got some fun things. I've got one of the banners for one of the radio stations that I'm on.

All behind me are different collectible things that I enjoy. So I've got, you know, I went to the NBA finals, that final game. And I I've got, uh, in a frame, some pictures along with like a poster that I took from the game and those kinds of things. And, uh, and yeah, I've got like a little keyboard in here cause I can barely play piano, but you know, I try, uh, and just, uh, different, different things that are set up, microphones and whatnot.

And like in front of me right now, I've got. The one laptop that I record just dry audio in, so if I'm doing commercials or an audiobook or even some of the radio work that I do, I will, uh, use this laptop, uh, and then I have, to my right, a laptop that the radio station in Boston provided me, along with the microphone they sent me as well, uh, so when I fill in for them and when I do some weekend stuff, that is what I use there, and then, uh, to my left, I have a laptop that I've actually talked about here on the podcast, that it was my way of investing in myself, Uh, that I purchased at the end of last year, and that has been allowing me to do, I mean, a lot of different radio work, uh, you know, in Burlington, Vermont, currently on two different stations in Detroit, Michigan, so that's a huge market, and, uh, about to add not just, uh, Um, Wilmington, North Carolina, but I'm doing some fill in in Akron, Ohio, as well, uh, through August.

So, you know, I just, uh, I keep on building. That's what it's all about, right? You got to keep on building. Can you keep on growing? And you know, had I not bought that laptop, I probably wouldn't be doing half the work that I am right now, which, you know, just proves to you. Yeah. See, you got to invest in yourself, um, underneath.

The, the most recent thing that I did purchase for myself, uh, you know, and I don't necessarily think it is a hundred percent necessary because honestly, I didn't have it for, you know, the first 16, 17 years of my career, but because of everything that I am doing from home, I just thought it might be helpful, uh, based on the type of work that I do because it is radio work and you know, they, they put a lot of what we call compression and stuff on, on your voice, uh, when, when you're getting pumped into their feed, um, and.

When you're doing it from home, you don't necessarily have that same big feel. So I got myself a Dbx compressor for my microphone and Is it working a hundred percent? That's a good question Some of the lights don't work at this point and I don't really know what happened I think you know, maybe there was a power surge and whatnot, but I think it is still working The way it's supposed to it's just some of these lights aren't working.

But You know, I went and I reconfigured everything online, um, you know, I did the little YouTube tutorial and whatnot, and... Yeah, I mean, this little thing, uh, it cost me like 250 bucks, but it is a, a good, good investment. I will tell you that right now. It allows me to also adjust volumes and stuff a little bit more freely, a little bit more comfortably.

Um, so, so yeah, uh, but... You know, how much did my home studio cost? Hmm. I don't know. I mean over the years and when I say over the years, I'm meaning like almost over You know almost 20 years at this point Uh, you know if you carry the four, uh I don't know. We're probably a couple thousand dollars in uh, but that is You know a brand new laptop that is a couple different microphones.

That is this dbx compressor That is the table that these things are sitting on, you know, the little um Stands that I have each laptop on that helps elevate them. So my back and neck are not like killing me. Um, you know, so it's, it's a lot of different little things too, that you got to think about that you're, you know, purchasing for your own comfort too.

Uh, but you know, All this stuff has paid for itself tenfold at this point. Uh, probably more than that, I mean, my math is not good, I'm not gonna lie. Um, so, you know, just kinda keep that in in the mind here, as you are going and and, you know, finding this little space in in your nook, uh, that could be your studio space.

It doesn't have to be as big as what I have. It could be as small as a closet. You know, it it could you could just move those clothes to the side, and, you know, go ahead and, you know, set up a little, uh, TV stand and... That's, that's the beginnings of, you know, your recording career. There's plenty of people that do that.

So don't, don't hesitate. Don't think that that's a bad idea by any means. You know, one question that I did get a couple of times this week that I also wanted to touch on is. Length, length and pacing, uh, you know, these are a couple of things that can be kind of tricky at first. A lot of us to do tend to be faster when we read something than we are when we speak naturally.

That is just, I mean, the words are right there. We just fly right through them, you know, so how do you slow yourself down? How do you know how long something is supposed to be? Well, First of all, how do you slow down? I mean, one of the biggest tricks that I always tell students is like, look at the punctuation.

You know, in a lot of ways, you don't necessarily want to focus on the punctuation because it could really take away from your, your conversational aspect or it could help improve it depending on how you're looking at it. You know, if you're having that really tough time of slowing down, you got to pay attention to those commas.

You got to pay attention to those periods. If you notice that you are rushing through one sentence more than another, You've got to look at it a little closer. Where could I put punctuation? That might not be grammatically correct, but it's going to help me sound more natural, sound more like me. You know, these are the little tricks that you have to teach yourself that as you go on, you won't need to do, because, you know, you're going to find your natural flow.

But in the beginnings, You know, throwing some, you know, grammatical grammatically incorrect punctuation in there. So you have that visual cue, it's really helpful. So just think about that as you are practicing. Uh, the other thing that you always want to keep in mind is that, you know, when you are hired for a project.

Chances are they're going to let you know how long that piece of audio is supposed to be, especially if it's commercial, you know, commercials are weird because they can be 15. They can be 30. They can be 60 seconds. I've seen some that aren't 90 seconds. It really just depends. I mean, most of them aren't that long these days, but, um, you know, every once in a while you find something on talk radio that is a little longer, just depends on, you know, what it is being used for, what kind of time that client bought and, Okay.

You know, when you've got something like an audio book, they'll give you like an estimated time that they believe the final product will be. Now it could end up being a little longer than that. It could end up being a little shorter than that, but that is where you've got to understand. Your natural pacing, and as you're recording, am I going too fast?

Listen back to it. Listen as a listener. Because if you're listening as a listener, you're gonna understand, like, what did I just say? Like, am I able to absorb this information, this story? Can I, can I understand what's happening in, in this, you know, this story? You know, if you're having hard times... Really, uh, picturing, you know, what's happening or any of that kind of stuff, you, you have to understand then that you are going to need to slow it down.

Um, you know, it's really, a lot of this ends up being doing and listening back and then doing again and listening back some more. You gotta build that ear for yourself to, to allow yourself to understand that how you're, as you're doing it, how it's coming out. It takes time. Any of this takes time. It takes time, it takes, uh, patience, it takes practice.

Uh, you know, and it, it gets easier as you go. You know, I've talked about this before, it's like the first audiobook I sat down to do, I realized how, how much I've built my ear over time, that I was correcting myself as I went along. I was doing a cold read, and as something would come out in my head, I'm like, nope, that's not it, and I'd go and I'd record that sentence again.

And you know what happened? As I was editing, I was taking that second take of everything. So, the more you do, the more you grow. Uh, but just be hyper aware as you're practicing of your pacing at first, just so you can start to improve and correct yourself. Uh, but listen guys, I hope you enjoyed the little field trip to my studio.

Uh, I hope that, you know, again, the summer is treating you well. If you do have anything that you want us to tackle here at the Voice Coaches radio podcast, it's just a matter of sending an email, info at voicecoaches. com. Hey, even if you want to give some feedback or you just want to say, Hey, just direct that email to me and I would love to hear from you.

But listen, we've got more new episodes coming at you next week. Stay safe, everybody. Visit voicecoaches. com for more voice coaching. The Ok. Ok. Ok

This week on Voice Coaches Radio, Marissa thought it would be fun to take the podcast on the road…to her home studio! She’ll talk about how her home studio is set up and what’s in it along with a student question that popped up this week.